Meherwan Irani

Meherwan Irani is a Southern chef of Indian descent who's been serving up his unique take on Indian street food for more than 10 years. His company Spicewalla is one of the country's finest spice purveyors. There, Meherwan aims to make global flavors more accessible by creating spice blends and recipes to introduce cooks to new cuisines.


Meherwan Irani is a self-taught chef of Indian descent. He's been serving up his famed Indian street food since 2009, when he opened the doors to his first restaurant, Chai Pani, in Asheville, North Carolina. He's a five-time James Beard Award nominee for Best Chef: Southeast. After 13 years in business, Chai Pani earned the James Beard Award for Outstanding Restaurant in 2022.

In 2017, he founded Spicewalla, a spice company dedicated to providing the freshest spices to chefs and cooks across the country. Meherwan's appreciation for spices was born from his Indian upbringing, where his family would roast and grind their own spice blends. Spicewalla boasts more than 30 specialty blends, many of which are family recipes.

To date, Meherwan's Chai Pani Restaurant Group operates five restaurants in seven locations across the South. They've been featured in numerous publications, including the New York Times, Food & Wine, Saveur, and Bon Appétit.

Meherwan proudly identifies as a Southerner, and has been participating in the Brown in the South dinner series since 2018, a fundraising collaboration featuring acclaimed Indian chefs who have all made the American South their home. In 2019, he was named one of the "31 People Who Are Changing the South" by Time magazine.

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